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Recent Appellate Decisions – Spring 2017

  • April 6, 2017

FEDERAL In the case of Zetwick v. County of Yolo (2017) ___F.3d ___ 2017 W.L.710476, the 9th Circuit reversed and remanded a decision of the district court granting summary judgment to the defendant’s county and sheriff on a sexual harassment case. In so ruling, the 9th Circuit rejected defendant’s assertion that hugs were not the type of thing that could form the basis for a sexual harassment claim. Rather, the court said, “hugs can be the basis of a sexual harassment claim, if the hugs were both unwelcomed and occurred with sufficient frequency.” In the case of Reynaga v. Roseburg Forest Products (2017) 847 F.3d 678, the 9th Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s granting of summary judgment in the defendant’s favor on a racial/national origin discrimination case. The Mexican employee/plaintiff had brought an action against his former employer, alleging hostile work environment, disparate treatment and retaliation in violation of Title VII, section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act and state law. Plaintiff alleged a series of wrongful conduct in the workplace. He alleged that as the only Mexican millwright at the plant, that he was intimidated and harassed by the lead millwright because of.......

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Taxi Cooperative Held Responsible for Taxi Driver’s Negligence

  • March 15, 2017

Emanuele Secci was awarded more than $330,000.00 after a jury determined that a taxi driver was negligent in causing a motor vehicle accident. The main issue before the court was whether the taxi company could be held responsible for the negligence of the taxi driver. The jury found that the driver was an agent of the taxi company and, therefore, the company was found vicariously responsible for the acts of the driver. The trial judge agreed with defense counsel that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to determine that the driver was either an agent or an employee of the company and granted the taxi company’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. On appeal, Secci claimed there was substantial evidence of agency to support the verdict. The court of appeal agreed and reversed the trial judge. Although the jury determined that the driver was not an employee of the company, the court of appeal noted that the taxi company controlled significant aspects of the driver’s work and therefore there was sufficient evidence to find that the driver was an agent of the company, even though the driver was classified as an independent contractor. There is precedent for holding that.......

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